On the Record | WYPR

On the Record

Melissa Gerr / WYPR radio/Baltimore

Beyond the cacophony of bass drums, cymbals and snares, we hear about why participation in The Christian Warriors, a marching band in West Baltimore, means so much more than making music together. We meet the band’s assistant director, James Parker, who played in the drumline as a young teen. Founder and director Reverend Ernest King tells us about the legacy of dedication and community support that has held it all together. Watch a video of their rehearsal here.

Here’s a Stoop Story -- or rather a confession -- from Katy K., about her life lesson in marching-band hierarchy, and her brush with the dark side of her psyche. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Tidewater Muse / Flickr via Creative Commons

The murder and rape of a young woman in Baltimore in 1987 led to the wrongful convictions of two men. Each served more than two decades behind bars, and when DNA belatedly showed they had not sexually assaulted her, both faced the same choice: accept an Alford plea--a type of guilty plea--and be released, or maintain their innocence.

Molly Adams / Flickr via Creative Commons

President Trump’s decision to end DACA, his predecessor’s order protecting from deportation young people who were brought to the U.S. as children, has been met with legal challenges from several states. Maryland has joined one of these challenges; Attorney General Brian Frosh tells us what’s behind that suit. Plus, how are DACA recipients coping with President Trump’s decision? We hear from Baltimore City Public School teacher Jose Torres, and from Heymi Elvir-Maldonado, who came to the U.S. when she was eight-years-old.

DC-Maryland Justice for Our Neighbors will be holding a free informational legal clinic for current DACA holders on September 16th at Salem Hispanic United Methodist Church, 3405 Gough St., Baltimore, MD 21224. The event begins at 10 am. You must call 240-825-4424 to make an appointment to attend. More information available at their Facebook page.

Courtesy Ivy Bookshop

It was a tragedy that Chester Arthur became president. Not only the tragedy of his predecessor’s assassination in 1881, but the perceived tragedy by many that Vice President Arthur, a Republican party hack from New York, would bring his machine politics into the Oval Office. He had consistently opposed cleaning up the corrupt spoils system of federal jobs. But Arthur was inspired ... by letters of conscience from a stranger. We learn about those letters and Arthur's surprising legacy from biographer Scott Greenberger, who asserts Chester Arthur is worth remembering. 

Courtesy The Peale Center

The historic building near City Hall that houses the Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture has a rich and varied past. It was once a fine arts space, a temporary City Hall, the first African American school, and even housed the water bureau. So it’s no surprise The Peale is being re-imagined as a production center for storytelling. We talk with Nancy Proctor, the Peale's director, and Michael Burns, founder of the The Omnimuseum Project, about their upcoming collaborative effort, Be Here: EDU, a storytelling workshop all are invited to attend.

Laura Smith-Velazquez, an astronaut candidate for the Mars One program, tells her story about achieving her dream of working in the aerospace field. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

Tim Bouwer, Flickr - Creative Commons

Thousands of children in Maryland--including about one of every six kids in Baltimore--are being raised by their grandparents. The opioid epidemic, crime and incarceration are reshaping many families. We talk with the city’s deputy commissioner for aging Heong Tan about the supports offered by the Grandparents as Parents program. We also meet one of its participants, Donnaniece Carroll, who is raising her 11-year-old grandson. Also on the program is multimedia specialist Rich Polt, owner of acKNOWledge MEdia, who shares tips for a meaningful conversation this Sunday, Grandparents’ Day!

Adelante Latina FaceBook page

What does it take to keep a girl in high school from being sidelined by financial challenges, language barriers or distractions? We focus on mentors making a difference and talk with Leonor Blum, founder of Adelante Latina in Baltimore City, and Debbi Weinberg founder of the Girls Empowerment Mission (GEM) in the county. We also meet two participants from the programs, Ashley Ruano and Shakira Bradshaw, who is now giving back as a mentor herself.

We meet author and illustrator Jonathan Scott Fuqua, who watched scores of students graduate with college degrees in art -- along with so much debt that paying it down crippled their ability to start art careers. Fuqua and his co-founders, Alex Fine and Greg Houston, set out to offer a much cheaper school alternative, = offering classes more like an apprenticeship, instead of degree-based. Thus, The Baltimore Academy of Illustration opened in 2015. It’s taught about 250 students, including Jim Zimmerman, a full-time electrician -- he tells us how he's reviving his artistic skills and interests, making a dream come true.

Bill Barry

Before there were Labor Day barbecues and Labor Day sales, there was Labor--workers in the 19th century pushing for an eight-hour day and safe conditions as the U.S. economy was transforming itself from one of small enterprises to one dominated by industrial corporations. Labor historian Bill Barry tells us the roots of the holiday, still reflected when people gather for Labor Day picnics and parades. Follow this link to information about Labor Day events in Maryland, and watch this History Channel video for another quick lesson about US worker history.

Stoop Story teller Megann Shutt talks about moving back to Baltimore, and her job that began as a labor of love, then took a turn for the worse. Such is life ... as a duck! You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

Courtesy BrainFutures

The human brain and new ways to understand, support and work with it will be the focus when scores of researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs gather in Maryland next week for the second BrainFutures conference. Today we’ll speak with researcher and entrepreneur Cori Lathan, co-founder and CEO of AnthroTronix, whose app helps medics track the brain health of deployed soldiers and Dr. Naomi Steiner, a clinical associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine who uses neurofeedback to help students overcome attention challenges. Plus, we ask Professor Michelle Carlson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about her studies of senior citizens who tutor young kids. 

Courtesy CHANA website

There are more senior citizens every year, and more are victims of elder abuse -- last year 6, 300 cases were investigated in Maryland. The abuse can be financial, physical, sexual, emotional--or just neglect. We talk to Valarie Colmore, of Adult Protective Services are the Maryland Department of Human Resources and Nancy Aiken, executive director of the domestic-violence resource CHANA about who commits elder abuse, who should report it and how and what might prevent it. The toll-free state hotline to report elder abuse is 1-800-917-7323 and CHANA’s number is 410-234-0030. This program originally aired 6/12/17.

Whether it’s repairing defects, growing tissue, or customizing cell patterns, new technology is boosting the potential of regenerative medicine. We speak to Professor John P. Fisher, chair of the University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering, about the school’s new Center for Engineering Complex Tissue.

MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

As opioid overdoses continue to surge, the top prosecutor in St. Mary’s County is taking a new get-tough approach: second-degree murder indictments when drug dealing leads to an overdose. We talk with State’s Attorney Richard Fritz, who argues that people who distribute lethal drugs show such disregard for life, they should pay a high price, and University of Maryland Law professor Renee Hutchins, who contends it’s often an addict, not the dealer who packaged the drugs, who gets caught.

Courtesy Joseph Young

Have you ever wandered through a place and thought, if these walls could talk … ? Artist and author Joseph Young has given life-- fictional life at least--to this concept, with his latest installation, “Microfiction Rowhouse.” We talk to him about the stories he's written that will cover the walls, doors, and ceilings of his home, invoked by the spirits of a fictional family living there. Young would like visitors to come away with a sense of who the characters are, but he also leaves room for imagination ...

Transplant coordinator Kate Pratt shares her Stoop Story about experiencing the power of spirit during a night at the morgue that she'll never forget. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Courtesy Baltimore/Washington Cricket Crawl

Armed with curiosity, patience, and all the right apps loaded onto a smartphone, anyone can become a citizen scientist. We talk with Anna Scott, a climate scientist who’s counting on Baltimoreans to help her measure air quality throughout the city with her project, Baltimore Open Air. And we also hear from USGS wildlife biologist Sam Droege, who tells us about the annual Baltimore/Washington Cricket Crawl count and how anyone can be a powerful asset in helping science collect big data.

Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr via Creative Commons

Millions of tons of sediment are trapped behind the Conowingo Dam. It can’t hold more, so Governor Hogan has called for a test of dredging some of the sediment. Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles explains how the state plans to work with Chesapeake watershed partners --and Exelon which operates the dam--to pay for the project, while finding new uses for the sediment. 

The tiniest creature with the deadliest of bites … Professor Chris Potter's lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is working to understand why mosquitoes are attracted to humans, in order to quell diseases such as malaria and Zika, both transmitted by mosquito bite. By studying its sense of smell, Potter hopes to alter the way mosquitoes perceive human scent and flavor--in an effort to make us less appealing as a meal. Want to see what happens when a mosquito stops for a bite? Watch this. To see all that Potter's lab is up to visit his site. This is a rebroadcast, original airdate was 6/27/17.

Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement Facebook page

One of the criticisms of last year’s US Department of Justice investigation into the Baltimore Police Department - the city’s Civilian Review Board was severely hampered by a lack of both resources and cooperation from the department. Jill Carter, director of Baltimore’s Office of Civil Rights & Wage Enforcement and former state delegate, tells us how things have changed. And Bridal Pearson, civilian chair of the Civilian Review Board and representative for the Northern District, explains how the board investigates complaints.

Stoop Storyteller Joel Green, astronomy scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, shares how his obsession with science fiction led him to study the formation, birth and destruction of planets. You can hear more stories at stoopstorytelling.com.

A new exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, “From Digital to Damask”, weaves together technology, fish fossils, and 17th-century portraits! Inspired by sewing circles in her native Netherlands, Annet Couwenberg creates art with a fresh take on form and fabric.

Courtesy ProPublica website

Even advocates of removing Baltimore’s four Confederate statues didn’t expect them all to disappear so swiftly. They were symbols of an ideology now repudiated by most Americans. We ask Baltimore Bloc organizer and Morgan State University Professor Lawrence Brown what forces he thinks speeded their departure … and what difference it makes now. Plus we talk to Rachel Glickhouse, a journalist at Pro Publica, the online investigative news source, about their efforts to aggregate hate crimes being reported, in order to develop a database with a clearer picture of how widespread they are. It’s called “Documenting Hate.” And if you've experienced or witnessed a hate crime in Maryland, please document it here to add your information to the national database.

We're joined by Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, (C) a Johns Hopkins Bayview doctor who co-founded Medicine for the Greater Good -- the organization partners with communities and extends medical personnel into communities to share health literacy and make medical information and resources more available. We also speak with Reverend Ernest King (L) and Imam Hassan Amin, (R) two community leaders who have helped forged the non-profit’s deep connections with people in neighborhoods so they can better understand how medicine works and doctors can understand how their lives work. 

Sound Comparisons

More than seven thousand languages are spoken around the globe, but researchers have picked up on a curious fact: as you move from the Earth’s poles toward the equator, more and more languages are spoken. Why are there so many more languages spoken in the tropics? Dr. Michael Gavin, associate professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, describes his investigation of language diversity.

Chris Brueckner / Flickr via Creative Commons

Since February, Baltimore has been testing a program that offers individuals stopped for minor drug offenses social services, including mental health and drug treatment, in place of arrest. Baltimore Police Captain James Rhoden of the Central District and Crista Taylor, president of the nonprofit Behavioral Health System Baltimore, describe the preliminary impact of LEAD, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion.

Mystery writer and former Baltimore Sun reporter Laura Lippman shares a bittersweet tale of how failure played out--and paid out--in her professional life. You can listen to more stories and learn about Stoop shows here.

UnknownNet Photography / Flickr via Creative Commons

What do you get when you mix science, business, and a passion for ice cream? Ice Cream University! TIC Gums, which manufactures ingredients for the food and beverage industry, offers this program to Harford County high school students each spring. Tim Andon, TIC Business Development Manager, and Whitney LaRoche, who participated in Ice Cream University and is now studying food science, tell us about developing flavors that appeal to customers’ taste buds.

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